Today is my second fourth of July as a Christian anarchist. How does it feel?
I used to experience a great sense of pride and identification with my nation of birth. When television stations signed off early in the morning, they played the national anthem of the United States. Purple mountain majesties, flowing waves of grain, old glory flying on the wind, the martial roll of the drum; all these I robed myself in. With my righteous nation I was one. She was heroic and my ancestors died to defend her freedoms. It might not be perfect but it was America.
But we are all (hopefully) on a journey to increasing self-awareness. The more one learns of history, the more one sees beyond the propaganda of one’s youth. I have learned many things about the nation of my birth that I was not previously clear about. Now I can see her as not the innocent and righteous lady, but as a machine for the imposition of totalitarianism. Did her founding fathers so intend her? I think not. Do her current custodians so intend her? Again, I think not. Is it going to happen anyway? We will see.
The band Styx had a 1970s song titled “Suite Madam Blue.” The last lines of the lyrics were:
Red, white and blue
Gaze in your looking glass
You’re not a child anymore
Red, white and blue
The future is all but past
So lift up your heart
And make a new start
And lead us away from here
I would like that. But I do not think it will happen. As a Christian I pray daily for those recognized as persons in authority. I pray for their conversion, and that we will be able to live a quiet and peaceable life. But I believe that we are in for different times.
The confidence of many people in the state is low. Some older generation Americans seem oblivious but many of the young are alert and unsure where things will land. This is not something that can be patched up. Old wineskins are full of holes. I perceive extraordinary change coming.
Centuries ago people fought for holy causes. More recently, people die for the nation-state. But the internet is showing us all our blemishes. Every incident of police brutality, excess, or torturous tasering or pepper-spraying is an argument against granting the state coercive power.
I do not believe that the state as presently constituted will long survive. Either we will lose the freedom of the internet or the state will collapse. We will not have both.Nor are there guarantees that the (very likely) next iteration of nation-state will be any improvement over this. But we will see.
This July four I feel nothing. As I look at the flags rippling in the summer wind, I do not feel betrayal, or even anger. I think that I did last summer. I do not now. Now I see through the illusion. I appreciate the vision even as I see it as unrealistic. The future likely holds secession, economic hardship, and mayhem. Debts will be repudiated. Larger states like the USA will go the way of the USSR. I ask myself what is ahead, and recognize that I can trust in God but not much else. Independence day? Rather, illusion day. May God help us; there is no help in man. This does not mean I feel cynical or wounded, but that I am ready for the lightening to strike. I am braced for it. Time will tell.